It’s too early in this blog’s life to expect any success in polling readers, but I’ll give it a shot: has anyone out there read Jan van Rij’s Madame Butterfly: Japonisme, Puccini, and the Search for the Real Cho-Cho San? If so, feel free to leave your impressions in a comment below. I hadn’t heard of the text until today but it looks fascinating. Van Rij sets out to explore the various sources of the Puccini opera, and while “the search for the real Cho-Cho San” makes it sound like it has National Enquirer potential, apparently the results are not only legitimate but legitimately shocking. I’d also be curious to pick it up because van Rij looks at how Butterfly is received in Japan, an issue well worth pondering. For a summary of the opera’s literary precedents, check out this link.

UPDATE (9/16/08): General Director and new father (congrats!) Allan Naplan has lent me his copy of the van Rij book; I’m glad to have come across it and will offer some feedback once I’m a little further along.

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Benjamin Taylor

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